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Summer Swim #2

  • Posted on June 23, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Last Thursday was another Summer Swim. As you might recall, the last Summer Swim didn’t go very well. Thursday was a much calmer day for me. I wasn’t in a rush. Thursday was a much calmer day for Alex. He’d spent much of the day over at my mom’s house. Thursday was a much better swim day.

Perhaps it was because he started out so much calmer. Perhaps it was because the pool was just a tad bit warmer. Perhaps it was because there were fewer people there this time. Perhaps it was just a little more familiar.

The moment Alex got into the pool he crossed over to the other side. We were still in the shallow area, but we were on the far side, which just happened to be away from almost everyone else (at least for a while). Alex started to play in the water right away. He liked pushing the mini-surf board down in the water. It was designed for a child to lie on so his torso was supported while he paddled across the water, but Alex tried very hard to sit on it. He also played with a ball. The inside was soft sponge and the outside was coated in plastic. I suppose at one time it was waterproof. Now, the coating was cracked and punctured. So, Alex filled it up with water and then squeezed the water out, sending spouts of water over his face and into the air around him. He loved that! It also turned out to be a great alternative to pinching.

Last time, I could barely get Alex to go out into the deep end where we could just barely touch. This time Alex not only gravitated to the deep end, but he wanted to go over the floating line to the deepest end where we couldn’t touch at all. In the deep end, we worked on getting him to lie flat and he did. We worked on getting him to kick his legs and he did. We worked on getting him to float on the board and he did. Then, after much urging on his part, I took him past the rope.

We made it out a little ways and he was swimming with the help of the board and the life preserver. He kicked his feet. He clung to the board. Then, he pushed the board away from him and sunk into the water. I grabbed his waist while he laughed and I swam one-handed back to where I could touch the bottom. We went back over the rope to where it was safe. He tried to go back out into the deepest end several times before it was time to go, but I wouldn’t let him. When he got upset he squeezed the ball instead of pinching me. We stayed in the pool until the lifeguard called out the time and then we slowly, reluctantly made our way to the ladder. We left with smiles.

Summer Swim

  • Posted on June 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

So this post is going to be a little bit late. Yesterday was a busy day and the content of this post was going to depend on what happened. I haven’t gotten a chance to write it out until now, but here’s what happened:

  • First, I had three paid assignments that were due. (I successfully completed two of them and put the third back in the public queue for somebody else to do, because I ran out of time and energy to complete it myself.)
  • Second, I had scheduled a meeting with the Sister Missionaries from our church for 4 pm. (I met with them and it was a good meeting.)
  • Third, I had to go with Alex to his first Summer Swim at 6 pm. (This is the main point of this post.)
  • Fourth, I had a sleep study scheduled for 9 pm. (This is the main point of my next post.)

So, I took Alex to his Summer Swim, which is a special program arranged by the school system. Now, it’s important to know that I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for this, because I was frazzled and stressed with too many pressing demands for a single day. Alex, on the other hand, was excited. He’d been excitable all day and telling him he was going swimming sent him through the roof. Not literally, but close enough to it.

Then, we arrived at the school. Except that it was the wrong school. By this I mean we were at the correct place to attend the Summer Swim session, but it was the wrong school in Alex’s mind. You see, Alex loves to swim. He swims two to three times a week during the school year. He swims in the pool at his school. He swims with his classmates at his school. And he loves it! He actually swims. But this wasn’t his school and it wasn’t his classmates.

This was disorienting. He didn’t want to get in this pool; he wanted to get in that pool; but, I managed to get him in the pool that was available. He didn’t want to swim with these kids; he wanted to swim with those kids; and I didn’t get him to interact with any of them. He was in the pool up to his waist, but that was it. He didn’t try to swim. He was too agitated to do much of anything. He just jumped and flapped his hands and made sounds of distress.

I thought if I could get him in deeper, he’d relax and enjoy the experience. I tried to coax him to dunk himself in the water and he jumped his way to one ladder. I blocked him and he jumped his way to the other ladder. I got there before him and he turned around and went to the other ladder. We went back and forth for ten minutes. Whenever we were face to face, Alex would pinch me. Whenever I tried to soothe him with a hug or by mushing his face (which he usually likes), he tried to bite my neck or my hands.

Then, I got the brilliant idea that if I could get him to the deeper end of the pool, where there were fewer people, he’d be able to relax and enjoy it. Remember, I was frazzled and hurried. So, I grabbed him by the belt of his little life preserver and pulled him out into the deep end. At first, he seemed like he was going to relax, but after a few moments he made a bee line for the ladder again. I tried again, pulling him out to the deep end, but he made it clear he wanted to go for the ladder again.

I blocked him and the first routine started over again, but he was even more agitated, so when we made it back to the first ladder, I told him we were done. It took some coaxing to get him up the ladder, despite all his efforts to get to the ladders before. I think he realized that I wasn’t really accommodating his needs and that it was more of a punishment for poor behavior. It made getting what he wanted (or what I’d thought he wanted) less fun for him. I dried him off, dried myself off, at least enough to get in the van, and I got him out of there. We arrived at 6:10 (which was on time) and we left at 6:35 (which was early).

Now, I readily admit that I didn’t handle this well. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind – that’s not an excuse, just an observation. Luckily, we’ll have another shot on Thursday. Maybe that one will go better.